Ten street lights near Meskel Square are to be powered by solar panels in a pilot scheme that could pave the way for the use of solar powered street lighting across Addis Ababa.

The project is the work of JB World Solar System Plc, a subsidiary of the US-based Infinite Power Solutions (IPS), which was established in Ethiopia a year ago to promote the renewable energy sector in the country.

JB World will replace ten existing electricity-powered street lights on Jomo Kenyatta Street with solar-powered equivalents which, according to the company, will provide up to 12 hours of lighting with just two hours of sunshine. The lights will also have a battery for back-up purposes in the event of cloudy weather.

If the pilot scheme is successful Addis Fortune reports that JB World could win a contract to power all street lights in the capital with solar energy, cutting electricity and maintenance costs by up to 30 per cent.